Shigatse , whose name translates as ‘Best of the Land’, is Tibet’s second city. The city lies 273 kilometers west of Lhasa, at an elevation of 3,800 meters, with an area of 3,875 square kilometers. Shigatse is famous for Tashilhunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas.
Tashilhunpo Monastery : Tashilhunpo Monastery is one of the six big monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat) Sect in Tibet. Also called the “Heap of Glory”, the monastery is located beneath Drolmari (Tara’s Mountain) in Shigatse. The monastery attracts thousands of Buddhists and tourists every year. Founded in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, Tashilhunpo Monastery is renowned as the seat of the Panchen Lama. The monastery is aesthetically pleasing with broad courtyard, long entryway and massive gate that frames the complex.Tiers of white-washed buildings lift the eye to the red halls with their gold-sheathed roofs.
Sakya Monastery : Sakya, means “Grey Soil” in Tibetan since the soil surrounding the monastery is gray. The walls of the monastery are painted red, white and grey colors to represent Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani respectively. Sakya Monastery belongs to the first Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and occupies an area of 14,700 square km. The Sakya Sect ruled Tibet for more than 70 years. Thus the monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, including 3,000 pieces of sutras that have thousands of years history.The monastery is situated between Shigatse and Shegar.
Shigatse Free market : The Free Market at Shigatse bustles with vendors offering selection of practical and souvenir items. The market is worth a browse for souvenirs, jewellery, fake antiques and religious objects.
Shigatse Carpet Factory : The Shigatse Carpet Factory was one of many self help business projects initiated by the tenth Panchen Lama. Opened in 1987, it now employs 230 Tibetans. Located opposite Tashilhunpo, it carries out all dyeing and weaving on the premises and invites visitors to see how a Tibetan carpet is made. Their carpets are made from ninety-percent sheep’s wool and ten-percent cotton, and you can watch the whole process, from the winding of the wool through to the weaving and finishing.